Being the daughter of a severely mentally ill mother and an alcoholic/addict father and growing up with five brothers and sisters who were all touched by either of these diseases it is no longer a surprise to me the way I turned my life over to the disease of Alcoholism and Addiction.
I had been subject to four years of traumatic sexual abuse from the approximate ages of 3 to 7 years old that I only came to realize wasn’t a normal way of life for a young child at school at the age of 10. This realization left me with a constant shameful and dirty feeling about the kind of person that I was and no pride for the family that I had been born into. This was an extremely dark place for my mind to be in. I had my first real taste of alcohol at the age of 12. I had a few drinks and immediately fell in love with the feeling it gave me. It was a feeling that I had been craving for so long, a feeling that I knew that I wanted again. The feeling I had I identified as RELIEF. This was the beginning of my long-standing affair with Alcoholism and Addiction as I was immediately going to school with vodka in my water bottle and living my life as a “Functioning Alcoholic”. Alcohol became my best friend and I never went anywhere without it. Nothing mattered to me or bothered me when I was drinking. I was also steadily under control by issues with food and my weight (bulimia) as well as many other drugs. Four years ago I was at a morbidly high weight of 476 pounds. This is just another sign of how addiction was the strongest aspect of my life. Everything I did was always in excess. Too much was never enough. In November of 2009, after six months of planning and preparation with medical and psychiatric doctors, we made the decision for me to undergo gastric-bypass (weight loss) surgery.
After that surgery is when my alcoholism actually seemed to cause problems for me. Daily drinker that I was, I still began drinking even more and in excessive amounts that body my body could no longer even metabolize correctly. I have managed to lose over 250 pounds, but this weight loss came at a grave price. I let my dear friend Alcoholism work me up to drinking a liter of vodka daily, most usually more than that. I was using 4 grams of cocaine by myself 3-4 times each week. I was consistently choosing alcohol and drugs over my two children. My job of 10 years was no longer of any importance to me. I became a constant blackout and pass out drunk. I lost days at time all at a loss to my memory. I became completely incapable of controlling my drinking and drug use and most importantly my life. I lived to drink and I most certainly drank in order to keep living. I could no longer function in society without alcohol. I had to drink myself to sleep. I had to drink myself back to sleep in the middle of the night. Many mornings I couldn’t even lift my head off of the pillow and I laid in bed helpless as my children scurried around the house to find one of the many bottles I thought I had carefully hidden around the house and pour me a drink just so I could get out of bed for work. I was drinking on every one of my breaks at work just to function without shaking until I could go home just to drink again all night long until I again drank myself back to sleep and start the vicious cycle over again.
Drinking was my escape, my solace. It was my way of numbing everything away. I was a selfish, self-pitying martyr. I was always feeling sorry for myself and used that as my excuse to just continue in my self- destructive lifestyle.
Alcohol has caused me to give up the respect of my children because I have continuously let them down. Although they may have not wanted for any material things, they were certainly neglected by me mentally and emotionally.
The three weeks before I came back to The Watershed on December 27, 2012 I had spent drinking 2-3 liters of vodka and 1-2 bottles of wine daily. Those weeks were constantly in and out of blackouts. In between blackouts, I was either throwing up blood or drinking myself back to oblivion. I was repulsive. My addiction and alcoholism had me hopeless. I have no idea how I was even getting to and from the liquor stores, yet bottles and store receipts surrounded me in my house.
I was so sick from withdrawals on Christmas Day, 2012 due to all liquor stores and bars being closed in observation of the holiday. I was hallucinating, shaking, vomiting blood, and just begging for my life to just end finally. The only thing I cared about was hoping that my children wouldn’t be the ones that found me dead.
Somehow, I was given just enough ability to make two phone calls. One was for a ride to the emergency room; the other was to The Watershed to come back into treatment. My decision to come back to The Watershed has been the single best decision I have ever made in my life. Only through the constant guidance and understanding of the doctors, therapists, and behavioral health technicians, and many others I have been gifted with the tools to make many other decisions along the way to change my life and stop the vicious cycle I was living in. I eventually (although at first very much reluctantly), came to the decision to leave everything in my past back home in Rhode Island in the hopes of learning a new way of living. This decision included leaving my children to the guardianship of close friends of mine who were more capable of providing them without the stability they need at this crucial time in their lives. I left them, my job of ten years, my car, my home, and all material possessions of mine behind and came back to The Watershed for treatment on December 27, 2012.
My time here has been spent working at learning to live life as a sober, self-sufficient, strong, helpful woman. This journey has been ultimately the best choice I could have made for my life. I have developed a strong support network of both women and men that have showed me how to look for solutions to everyday problems rather than let the chaos lead me to dying a slow, miserable, alcoholic death at the hands of Alcoholism and Addiction.
Today, one year ago from my original admit date to The Watershed in October of 2012, I am living life in a peaceful and serene place with the purpose of helping others overcome the heavy cards that life has dealt us and live life as strong human beings. I have ultimately learned to look at myself in the mirror, hold my head high with pride and tell myself “I not a victim. I am a SURVIVOR!”
I WISH TO THANK ALL OF THE STAFF HERE AT THE WATERSHED FOR THIS MIRACLE!